Pain points experienced by students


What are the some of the pain points experienced by students in higher education?

The examples in the following list were among those observed during my 14 years of teaching at the post-secondary level (beyond high school) and during hundreds of in-person meetings with students in my position as undergraduate and graduate adviser at a research university and since then.

– Choice of where to learn: For the past 2 decades or so, youth in the United States have been taught that university is the natural path for post-secondary education. Over my years in academia, I observed increasingly younger children being brought to campuses for tours. My last recollection is circa late 2019 or early 2020 when I saw a large group of kids getting a tour of the university; they looked to me to be in kindergarten or Grade 1 at most. This indoctrination has conveyed the misleading idea that the only mark of success in youth is to earn a university degree, when the truth is there are other options. In addition to this, I often found that students made poor decisions on where to study.

– Major: A negligible count of students understand why their majors were created, and university representatives are not eager to tell the truth about this. Students also do not realize what the major they are in is meant to prepare them for. (The typical answer is probably not what you think.) 

– Coursework planning: All too often in a school term, students take on a greater load than they can handle, and the way they go about determining what they think they can handle is not done well. This results in poor grades and can lead to poor physical health, depression, and family problems. 

– Learning, reasoning, studying, test preparation: It is my professional opinion that a major failing of an educational system is not teaching children how to learn, how to reason, how to study, how to remember, and how to use what they have learned to intelligently respond on assignments and tests. My view is that these things can and should be taught starting in elementary school and on through high school at increasingly deeper levels. Otherwise, unless a student figures these things out on his/her own, graded work ends up being exercises in memorization and/or little more than a guessing game.

– Career planning: When should career planning begin and what does it involve? Rarely have I met a student who understands this important part of life.

The above pain points exist, and yet they do not need to if one has information and advice from the right source. 

The fact that so many students are misinformed and make poor decisions on these things indicates to me that they are not getting the counsel they need or are not following through on wise advice. I endeavor to change this during each counseling session with a student and/or parent.

Every additional quarter/semester that a student spends in school due to poor planning and/or low performance is thousands of $ in fees and housing AND time not spent getting started in a career (or in graduate school). 

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